New York City has Highest Construction Cost

New York City is well-known for a lot of different things like Times Square, Broadway, and world class museums. One thing that it is not well known for is affordability. A new study by Turner and Townsend as part of the 2018 International Construction Market Survey has shown that New York City is the most expensive city for construction.

The cost of building in New York City is $362 per square feet which is an 3.5% increase over the prior year. In 2018, Turner and Townsend is anticipating a further increase in the cost of construction by approximately 3.5%.

There are many different factors for the high cost of construction in New York City. The high price of land and the lack of raw or unbuilt space is one of the primary causes of high construction costs. However, a complicated regulatory process and concerns and processes over integrating with an outdated subway and rail system, as well as other utility integrations also further complicates the construction process and adds to the cost of building. New York City also has powerful unions that add another tier of cost to the construction process.

Second to New York City’s cost per square feet is San Francisco which has a cost of $347 per square foot. Hong Kong, in China, is third on the list with a cost of $344 per square foot. All three locations on the top of the list have a similarity in that they have a limited amount of space and are large and established cities with high costs for land and a multitude of skyscrapers.

John Robbins of Turner and Townsend also cited a lack of skilled laborers as a cause for the high cost of building. Overall, the construction industry decreased by 12% from the prior year and the industry is finding it challenging to obtain top talent. Robbins cited a need to attract talent back to the industry which may lead to a lower cost structure for construction going forward.

Letitia James Launches Bid To Become New York State Attorney General

Leticia James, a public advocate in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, formally launched her bid to become the first woman of color to become the attorney general for the state of New York.

James, who represents the Democratic party, says that she was inspired by African-American predecessors Thurgood Marshall and Barbara Jordan. James has dubbed herself as the “the people’s lawyer” and promises to defend the causes of the vulnerable and provide resistance to the hostile forces in Washington on behalf of New York State residents.

The kickoff rally for the campaign of Leticia James took place at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Her resume includes time spent as a public defender, a New York City Councilwoman, and an Assistant District Attorney. Leticia James is the first Democrat to formally announce the intent to seek the position vacated by Eric Schneiderman due to allegations of abuse against women.

The James campaign has already garnered the support of three top labor unions and local representative of these unions joined James onstage at the announcement rally along with members of the city council.

Leticia James has just begun her second term as public advocate and is now turning her attention to the task of securing the nomination for the Democratic party in preparation for the November election. The nomination convention for the New York State Democratic party will be held next week.

The initial campaign speech of James promised to address the topic of corruption in the state politics of New York. The issue of corruption has plagued the state for some time now and has recently caused problems for present New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

A top aide for Cuomo, Joe Percoco, was convicted in March of charges that included the solicitation of bribes and wire fraud. A former assemblyman, Sheldon Silver, was also convicted at a pre-trial hearing a week ago.

When asked about the situations involving corruption in the Cuomo camp, James expresses that the citizens of New York State deserve a government “that works for them” and is not operating on a rent for hire basis to outside business interests.

New York City Provides Empowerment Tools For Women

The city of New York is looking to provide resources that will allow women to emulate the female rapper Cardi B, who is a favorite to many, and make “power moves.” The website Women.NYC was launched to consolidate information regarding economic, legal, and social resources available to women in the city in one place.

The website provides vital information on city programs that provide women with business funding, legal help, affordable housing alternatives, and a number of other resources. The city has also launched a marketing campaign with the goal of making women aware that the website exists.

Alicia Glen, who works with the city’s office of housing and economic development as deputy mayor, says that Women.NYC provides relevant tools to facilitate the empowerment of women in New York City and is looking forward to seeing these women take advantage of the assortment of programs available to them that for the most part have gone unnoticed.

Glen went on to express her feelings that the city of New York is a better environment for women than many other locations in the country. She cites the facts that there are more women CEOs in New York than any other city as well as the city having the smallest wage gap in the nation to bolster her claim.

Despite this impressive pair of facts, there are still obstacles for women residents of the “Big Apple” to overcome. The office of Bill de Blasio reports that despite having the lowest wage gap in America that New York City women still earn only 89 cents for every dollar earned by a man. And for female business owners in the city, the gap is even larger as revenue for women business owners is 61% of revenue raked in by businesses owned by their male counterparts.

The mayor’s office also reports that along with the marketing campaign and website, the group that powers the Women.NYC initiative will also provide fresh programs and workshops designed to support women with a number of pertinent issues.

The initiative is also calling on employers to eliminate the wage gap in ten years and offer women six weeks of paid leave for parental purposes annually.

Yankees GM Suggests He Was Suspicous Of Illegal Doping By Robinson Cano

General Manager of the New York Yankees, Brian Cashman said he possessed no first-hand knowledge of any doping being done by Robinson Cano but did say that there was a period of time that he had “suspicions.”

Cashman, while speaking to the media on Tuesday following an announcement that Cano had been suspended for 80 games by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s drug policies, explained that if he would have had any knowledge of such happenings he would have been required to report the violations. Cashman finished the statement by further explaining that knowledge and suspicion are not the same things.

When asked a short while later to clarify his suspicions, Cashman appeared to walk the statement back a bit saying that he never “suggested” that he possessed a “suspicion of Cano.”

Cashman expressed that he was rather uncomfortable with any discussions of the matter since Cano is no longer a Yankee and is now a member of the Seattle Mariners.

A fact that has added to the suspicions surrounding drug usage by Cano is that his two best buddies while with the team, Melky Cabrera and Alex Rodriquez, both received suspensions from the league due to doping.

Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia said that the news is disappointing but past events have made it difficult to surprise him in regards to doping allegations. Sabathia pointed to the Ryan Braun incident as perhaps the last time he had been caught totally off-guard by allegations of doping.

Braun tested positive in 2011 for high levels of testosterone in his urine. A source close to the incident says the levels of testosterone present in Braun’s urine was twice as high as the previous highest level ever tested by the league. Braun was able to successfully appeal a 50-game suspension by raising doubts regarding the “chain of custody” that took place with his urine sample. In the process, Ryan Braun accumulated plenty of sympathizers who believed he had been wronged in some way.

Two years later Braun has suspended again. This time for 65 games resulting for his role in the Biogenesis scandal. This time Braun was unable to escape serving his suspension.

Annual May Day Protests In New York City

On May 1, 2018 hundreds of took to the streets of New York City’s Manhattan Borough. The day marked International Workers’ Day, an annual reminder for many of the silent grievances among the country’s working class. The annual day got its start all the way back in 1886, as industrial workers all across the country staged a “walkout” to protest long hours and unsafe working conditions. The result was a victory for American workers as an 8-hour work day soon became standard for many jurisdictions in the United States.

This year it was not just working class workers but immigrants that took to the street in protest. Immigrant rights and socialist groups staged a protest march that started in Union Square and ended in Washington Square Park. For many, the march was just another reason to protest the current United States Presidential Administration, which they say is trying to mute their voices.

All types of groups joined into the protests which were organized by the Workers World Party, which seeks to return political power to the working class. Immigrant rights groups marched side by side with the worker’s rights groups and a celebrity-turned-politician marched with them. Actress Cynthia Nixon of Sex And The City fame marched with protesters from Battery Park to Wall Street to voice concern over the power of financial institutions. Nixon announced earlier this year that she would be running for Governor of New York in the next election. This protest accused Donald Trump’s administration of causing mass incarceration in the immigrant community in an attempt to break down families. Investments in private correctional facilities by the big banks are said to be a conflict of interest.

This annual march does not seem to have caused any arrests which is a surprise considering 32 people were arrested in protest just one year ago. That was not the case in other parts of the world as over 200 people were arrested in Paris during that city’s May Day protests.

The Longines Masters of New York Was An Equestrians Success

The Longines Masters of New York was held last weekend in New York at the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. This is a premier jumping competition featuring the world’s top equestrian athletes. The equestrian sporting events last for several days and include the Longines Grand Prix and the Longines Speed Challenge. The event titles make it obvious the Longines Swiss watch brand are prominent as the Official Timekeeper and Title Partner. The win this year went to McLain Ward from the United States for the Longines Grand Prix riding Clinta.

The Longines Ambassador of Elegance and actress Kate Winslet was in attendance at the event. She presented the Golden Hat Foundation with a check from Longines. She is one of the founders of this charity. The charity was created to raise autism awareness to change the perception of the autistic. The funds came from last years online auction for three Kate Winslet Flagship Heritage watches. The Longines Masters of New York was attended by the winning bidders where Kate Winslet personally presented them with their watches. For additional details please visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertanaas/2018/05/01/longines-wraps-up-the-longines-masters-of-new-york-with-kate-winslet-races-to-kentucky-derby/#8ce5435401d6.

Longines began participating in the world of the equestrians in 1878. This was when a chronographic pocket watch was created by the brand. The watch was engraved with a jockey and horse. Numerous trainers began using the watch on the racetracks until it became coveted by jockeys and horse lovers. This was the beginning of the 140 year relationship between Longines and the sport.

The Longines Masters was originally held in Hong Kong. From there it moved to Paris. It finished in New York for the very first time in history. The brand is also the Official timer or partner for numerous races including the famed Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, the Preakness Stakes and the Breeders Cup. The event will be at Louisville’s famed Churchill Downs next week. The Derby has been deemed as the greatest race in America as well as sports most exciting two minutes. The Derby is often affectionately referred to as The Run for the Roses. This the sporting event running longer than any other in America.

Put on Your Red Shows and Take a David Bowie tour of Manhattan

Are you still mourning the passing of David Bowie? Do you want to walk in his red shoes? The best place to do that would be to walk the streets of New York City as this city became one of his greatest loves.

If you want to walk the David Bowie walk, you will have to start early as he did enjoy walking the streets of Manhattan very early in the morning. He believed that early in the morning, the city changed its shape and became more and more fleshed out as more and more people started to hit the streets. He felt a transfer that was almost magical from the buildings to the humans.

After scouring the streets that Bowie may have have walked in Manhattan, your next stop should be Washington Square Park. Bowie thought that this park was the emotional center of New York. When you get to this park, you should walk around the park and then sit down to do people-watching. Bowie loved to do some people-watching. You could see cit workers sitting on the benches, old men playing chess, mothers trying to calm their babies and other things that people do as you observe them from bench.

After sitting down, you should go to one of the places that Bowie frequented: Caffe Reggio. This cafe has been serving lattes for about a hundred years. Bowie may have sat down and read a book as a Queen Nefertiti bust would loom over him. His New York City home was not very far from this establishment.

Your next stop would his old home at 285 Lafayette Street. It is in the lower part of Manhattan in the Nolita neighborhood. You will find that his street is always full of traffic and you will crane your neck to see his former home as he lived on the top of this apartment building.

The next stop on this David Bowie tour would be to go to Olive’s takeout shop. If you are hungry, you can eat like Bowie by having the grilled chicken with watercress and a chocolate chip cookie. You can, of course, can eat whatever you want, but if you want to feel like Bowie, you should eat like he did.

The final stop on this tour would be to ride the New York City subway system. Bowie was a frequent rider of this old system and would usually ride with a newspaper in a foreign language to confuse his fellow riders about his true identity.

David Bowie was a unique voice that was unexpectedly silenced when he died in 2016. You can get a sense of what it may have been like to be Bowie by following in his footsteps in the city of New York.

New York City Confronts Lead Contamination Problem Head-On

The city of New York has a long public history of fighting against the effects of lead poisoning on its citizens. Lead paint was banned within the city’s limits in 1980 which was 18 years before a ban imposed by the federal government. Free testing for lead is offered by New York City and landlords are held accountable for tenants being exposed to residential lead contamination.

Despite the diligence demonstrated by the citizen, Barbara Ellis explains that lead inspectors had not visited the apartment building she once called home before test showed her twin daughters to have a high presence of lead in their bodies for three consecutive years. The building was inspected after the three examinations however and it was found that the building had lead paint in various stages of peeling on both windows and doors.

The Ellis twins are being provided with occupational and speech therapies to address the problems with development that are experienced by many children exposed to lead. Barbara Ellis, who works as a subway conductor, says that daughters Kaitlyn and Chastity suffered from slurred speech.

The situation endured by the Ellis family is not as uncommon a problem as the city of New York hopes it will one day become.

There are still significant areas of the city where lead contamination is prevalent. Data indicates that 69 census tracts across New York City have seen 10% of their small children test positive for elevated levels of lead in their bloodstream over a period of time from 2005 to 2015.

These numbers representing lead contamination rates in New York City are twice those of the peak contamination rates in Flint, Michigan for the years 2014 and 2015.

Patrick MacRoy, once the director of a program for lead poisoning prevention for the city of Chicago, says that the prevalence of lead contamination in New York even despite the efforts made by the city is a clear indication of how challenging the problem is on a national level.

A spokeswoman for New York City Hall, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, expressed discontentment with comparisons that have been made between her city and the city of Flint saying that aggressive efforts on the part of New York City officials have caused a sharp decline in the rates of lead contamination rates.

City Of New York To Establish Task Force For Mentally Ill Following Shooting

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, has organized a task force that is is being directed to find ways to improve the response of emergency workers in the city when responding to calls involving mentally ill New Yorkers. This action on the part of the mayor comes just two weeks after a mentally ill man was killed by police officers that mistakenly believed he was wielding a firearm.

The task force will be composed of officials for the city as well as residents of New York who themselves are living with mental illnesses.

Saheed Vassel was shot by New York City police officers when a metal shower head he held in his hand was thought to be a gun. The family of Vassel is asking that unedited video footage of the incident be released.

Mayor de Blasio has characterized the Vassel shooting as a tragedy but did not ignore the fact that officers as well as others that were present considered the actions of Vassel to be threatening.

Eric Schneiderman, Attorney General for the state of New York, has stated that he will look into the circumstances of the case. A 2015 executive order signed by Andrew Cuomo mandates that Schneiderman become the special prosecutor for any officer-involved killing of a civilian when suspicious circumstances are present.

Chirlane McCray, the wife of Mayor de Blasio, spoke Wednesday at an annual convention put on by the National Action Network headed by Reverend Al Sharpton. McCray herself is the force behind Thrive NYC, an $850 million initiative started in 2015 to address mental health issues among residents of New York City.

McCray explained to listeners that the country had never had a mental health system the likes of which are seen in the network of fitness centers and gyms throughout the country. The first lady of New York City went on to express that this fact was a major reason that some individuals in need of help do not receive it. She explained that the lack of a coordinated system in place to address the needs of the mentally ill has allowed many of these individuals to fall through the cracks.

McCray told the crowd that the new task force started by her husband is a step in the right direction.

Proposed Historic District For Central Harlem Gains Support

The Landmarks Preservation Commission listened to public testimony on Tuesday pertaining to a proposed historic district to be designated in Central Harlem. The sentiments expressed to the commission was in unanimous support for the designation that has constantly picked up steam since first being proposed.

The commission noted in their public presentation that the historic district would consist of 164 buildings mostly built in the 19th century. The district would consist of an area from West 130th and West 132nd Streets and will also run between Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and Lenox Avenue. Only 12 of the buildings in the proposed district have been built after the year 2000.

Despite the majority of buildings in the district being over a century old, the majority of the buildings are fully intact and have undergone very few alterations. The commission also points out that the buildings exhibit a high level of cohesiveness despite the variety of architectural designs that exist.

There is a rich history of culture in the area also. Scott Joplin, the composer that was once known as the “King of Ragtime,” made his home at 163 West 133rd Street. There was also an assortment of actors and actresses that have lived in the area and performed at the Lafayette Theater which was torn down five years ago with an apartment building being constructed in its place. The proposed district is also where the March On Washington maintained its national headquarters.

Many of the residents and public officials that attending the public meeting were not only supportive of the proposed historic district but were also adamant about the commission taking the steps to make the district a reality in an expeditious manner.

Gale Brewer, a spokesperson for Manhattan Borough President, says that the proposed district can do much to provide protection for the heritage of Harlem.

Save Harlem Now is an advocacy group concerned with protecting Harlem against the effects of gentrification. The president of the group, Valerie Bradley, says that a fast decision is needed from the commission to safeguard the neighborhood from those who would wish to further their desire to gentrify the area.

Bradley says that the brownstones in the area are filled with the heritage and history of Harlem.

The designation is scheduled for a May 29 vote by the Landmarks Commission.